My how we’ve grown up! Nearly a year ago I sat down to blog about the inaugural Streamy awards. Back then people were upset over the idea that their show might be over looked for bigger named series. In retrospect, yeah, they were kind of right. Everyone had a solid guess as to who was going to win what that night*, and no, there weren’t any upsets by tiny shows who really benefited from the exposure of the show (but that wasn’t really the point was it?) Somehow, this year feels different.
Certainly, this year is a new ball game, isn’t it? As Chris Albrecht reminded us there hasn’t been a behemoth released this year. There may be a few front-runners, but there’s no behemoth (Doctor Horrible, Battlestar Gallatica) to contend with. The Guild is still going strong, as is The Legend of Neil, and the Bannen Way will probably fair pretty well, but overall it feels like there are more stronger, new shows out there than last year and the organizers have listened closely to our complaints. Maybe I’m wrong (and if so, remind me in the comments). But to me, it feels like it’s anyone’s game, and there are wealth of smart, devoted, cunning web series creators out there who want themselves a Streamy.
We’re already seeing For Your Consideration campaigns rolling out as creators take cues from old hollywood campaigns. Fall of Kaden and Blue Movies were the first to take their efforts offline, setting up a joint screening at Cinespace. Safety Geeks, GOLD, Space Hospital, and Life with Kat & McKay all banded together to follow suit, setting up a similar event. The team from Compulsions (in my mind, a front-runner for the dramatic categories this year) stayed online, releasing detailed blogs with a hard sell for each of their contenders. Both strategies make bold statements about their shows. These are people who care about their shows and what the Streamy’s have to offer.
I count myself among them. Like our friends GOLD and Coma, Period,** we at Mountain Man will be sending out a screener package. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that it focuses on a few specific categories (the ones we excel at most), Best Art Direction, Special Effects, Sound Design, Cinematography and Music (but more on that later).
All this, and no one even knows who the new members of the IAWTV are yet.
Something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot more campaigning in the coming weeks, and frankly, I can’t wait. We wont know who’s tactics were the most effective till much later, obviously, but it’s going to be a fun race. Something tells me there wont be any huge upsets due to a FYC campaign, but I do believe that these tactics will help in raising the profiles of their shows.
While it may feel like FYC campaigns are yet another step towards the hollywood-ization of new media, I think we should savor the moment. Right now there are tons of great shows, all worthy of being recognized by their peers. We may be wooing “the Academy” but it’s still with out-of-pocket funds, it’s still with DVD screeners we design, package and mail ourselves. We benefit from the advent of printing and distribution technologies just like we do from cheaper cameras and editing systems. What I’m saying is; we’re all playing for keeps, but it’s a game among friends. Let’s enjoy that for a bit longer. We’re all going to see friends up on stage April 11th, and the feeling of community accomplishment and pride isn’t going to be so immediate forever. These are still simple times, and our efforts are merely an extension of our efforts to spread shows and a medium that we love and are proud of.
But then again, I could be totally wrong. What do you think? Is this sort of campaigning necessary, helpful, regressive, worthless? Please, I’d love to know if you all think I’ve been wasting my weekends stamping envelopes.
*UPDATE* After the outpouring of comments and other blogs, I’ve written a response blog you should check out here.
*Except Lisa Kudrow. You guys remember right? She presented after Felicia won for best female lead, and boy did she look pissed. Maybe it’s just me.
** Twitpics courtesy of Brandon Martinez